israeli couscous

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Hawaij Couscous

Thursday, September 27th, 2018

It all started with Zahav, the fabulous book on Israeli cooking by Michael Solomonov. Reading Michael’s descriptions of traditional Yemenite soup made me want to charter a flight to Israel, but I did the next best thing: I purchased some Hawaij (and practiced the pronunciation more times than I’d like to admit….CHA-WAYIJ). I was hooked.


There’s just something about the warm golden spices that transports me – and I don’t even know where. I’m 5th generation American on my Mom’s side, and while my Dad is Israeli, his Ashkenazi mother was cooking up shlishkes when he was a kid. I’ve got no Sephardic blood, although I later married into a Syrian family where they cook up their couscous with allspice. This, then, is the power of hawaij, I decided. It has the ability to carry you to a place you never even knew – but it feels like home. Perhaps it’s my souls yearning for Jerusalem, the city of gold, the color of this truly intoxicating blend: Zahav.


Of course the first thing I cooked up with Hawaij for soup wasn’t soup. Because I never go the traditional route (you should know that by now). Instead, I made Jerusalem Hummus in Jars, followed by Hawaij Garlic Confit  (you can find that life-changing recipe in my cookbook, Millennial Kosher), some roasted chicken and potatoes, and, yes, finally the soup (where I mixed the meat and chicken in one pot). I also explored the sweet side of Hawaij, with Hawaij for coffee – although of course not in coffee – with my Hawaij Honey Cake.

If you’re confused – let me explain. Hawaij is so good – the Yemenites decided to make two blends – one sweet and one savory. The savory one is used for classic Yemenite soup and the sweet one, for coffee. But the magic spice deserves more and I’m all over it.


So this summer I was putting up a last minute pot of Israeli couscous when I realized I was out of chicken and vegetable stock. I prefer not to cook my couscous in water, since it’s kind of bland, so I looked through my spice cabinet to see how I could improvise. The hawaij for soup looked at me and I realized that if I didn’t have soup – then I could just let the hawaij for soup take it’s place, and then THIS happened! It’s everything you never knew you wanted in Israeli couscous and it’s about to become your go-to recipe.


And since I know by your messages that y’all have hawaij in your cabinets by now, no need to go searching. Just make sure you use the savory blend otherwise this will be a couscous to remember for other reasons  (insert facepalm here!).

Related Recipes:

hawaij honey cake with labneh frosting
Jerusalem hummus in jars

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Sweet Pea Risotto

Tuesday, February 14th, 2012


Recently, I decided to come up with original recipes to use up the leftover baby food I had sitting in my pantry. I made these delicious cornbread scones which turned out to be a huge hit. My friend’s sister actually called me to tell me that when she saw the picture on my blog, it induced a huge pregnancy craving. She quickly made a batch using creamed corn (my recommended substitute for the baby food) and she could not stop raving about them.

With only a few jars of baby food left, I knew I had to come up with something special to use up my jars of peas. What better way to use pea puree than in a sweet pea risotto? I opted for one of my children’s favorite pasta’s, Israeli couscous, which cooks up in just minutes, for a quick and easy side dish.

 

1 year ago: sushi salad

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Couscous with Thyme & Honey Roasted Root Vegetables

Sunday, September 25th, 2011


I came up with this dish when thinking of how to incorporate some simanim as well as fall vegetables like beets, carrots and parsnips into the Rosh Hashana meal. These root vegetables complement each other really well, and the addition of honey and thyme really rounds out the dish. If you’d like, you can leave out the couscous altogether, but I like the texture and how it turns purple from the beets. In fact, my kids call this “purple couscous” and they eat it by the bowlful.

This salad incorporates 3 simanim, beets, carrots, and honey. Serve it with fish or meat.

>Beets are called Silka, which is similar to Siluk, meaning removal. We ask Hashem that our adversaries be removed.

>Carrots have a dual meaning. In Yiddish, they are called Meren, meaning to increase. We ask Hashem to increase our merits.


>In Hebrew, carrots are Gezer,  meaning decree. We ask Hashem to judge us positively.


>Honey (as well as carrots) is eaten because of its sweetness. We ask Hashem to bless us with a sweet new year.

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